As a practice of nearly 200 people, we have amassed a lot of knowledge on a diverse range of subjects, as well as contacts with lessons to share. Over the past two years, we have hosted 45 in-house CPD sessions by internal and external speakers on a broad range of sustainability issues, from detailing for air-tightness to circular economy and carbon sequestration.
Our experts from across the practice have also appeared as speakers at external events from regional Architectural Declares groups to numerous universities, professional organisations, conferences, and public audiences.
Peter Clegg was a founding member of Architects Declare, and our inhouse sustainability leaders sit on working groups within industry bodies including LETI, RIBA, CIBSE, UKGBC, and have been instrumental in forming The Embodied Carbon Group and the Part Z initiative.
Knowledge flows in both directions, and as a result, we are all more informed, more connected, and closer to reaching net zero.
We have initiated a number of campaigns that have sought to open up the conversation to diverse audiences:
What is net zero? In our conversations, we realised that although the term net zero is used commonly, many people are still unsure of what it really means. What is net zero? was a collaboration with Beyond the Box to engage young people and reach out to audiences beyond the construction industry. We enabled a group of young people to respond to this question, sharing their answers with their audiences through events, podcasts and a zine.
Carbon Counts The practice has always had a strong interest in reducing operational energy consumption in use, but in 2019, we acknowledged that we didn’t always understand the impacts of the construction of the buildings themselves.
The Carbon Counts exhibition explores the comparative impact of 10 common architectural materials. It has brought the concept and language of embodied carbon into the whole practice’s vocabulary, allowing us to engage our clients, consultants, school and university groups in the issue, encouraging discussion and awareness of embodied carbon in our projects.
FCBS CARBON This desire to understand the impact of materials better led us to identify – and fill – a gap in industry knowledge. FCBS CARBON is a free and simple-to-use carbon calculator, designed to be used at the earliest stages of a project. Since its launch in October 2020, it has been downloaded by nearly 3000 unique users and continues a steady trajectory of industry interest. It recently won the AJ100 Sustainability Initiative of the Year award, with the judges noting:
“[FCBS CARBON] is a major industry contribution, the right tool in the right place. This user-friendly platform enables designers to assess whole life carbon at concept stage when design – and carbon - decisions have the most impact.”